With the season opener just over a week away, the Ole Miss football team took to the outdoor practice fields Wednesday morning in preparation for its season opener with Boise State next Thursday.
While, head coach Hugh Freeze said the team was tested as they battled through the warmest temperatures they had experienced during fall camp, he was pleased with the effort shown on all fronts today.
“We had the first real heat we’ve had today,” Freeze said. “It was a good test for us at this point. We had a good practice. The quarterbacks were as sharp as they’ve been all camp. I was excited to see that. The offensive line pushed through well today. They looked really good in our scout period. They understand the portion of the game plan that we have them in.”
After a heated position battle, Freeze said Ben Still would get the starting nod at center, but back-up Robert Conyers would continue to be an essential part of the offensive line and needed in more than one position.
“Ben Still will start at center. We made that decision. Robert is very, very valuable to us and will play three positions. He may be one of the most valuable pieces to us offensively because he can grasp all three positions and function and do those well. That’s what we’ve decided there.”
Freeze said newcomers continue to impress and add depth to critical positions on defense.
“I got to be with the defense early on when they were doing scout work. It seemed that we had a good understanding of what was going on there also. I continue to be impressed with DeMarquis Gates and Marquis Haynes. I really think those guys are going to add some length and quickness to us on defense.”
With eight days until the season opener, the position battle at kicker continues on. Freeze said senior Andrew Fletcher is currently leading the competition after Wednesday’s practice.
“Special teams wise, we had a little field goal kicking battle at the end of practice. It continues to be (Andrew) Fletcher in the lead right now.”
With injuries, newcomers and inconsistency, Freeze noted that the team needs a wide receiver to step up and make an impact.
“We’ve still got some inconsistencies at wide receiver from some guys. We’ve got to have at least one other guy step up and really get in the mix. We’re having way too much inconsistency there. Not so much with effort but with missed assignments and drops.
Ole Miss faces Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Aug. 28 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. For more information on the game and all the festivities going on around the game, go to the Rebels’ Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game webpage.
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